By Daniel Teferra (PhD)*
The outcome of the recent Presidential Election in America may have surprised many people. But the question still remains: How did Mr. Trump manage to win the Election?
Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump had high negatives coming into the Election. The campaign was not fought on ideas as such. The whole thing came down to strategy and tactics in order to maximize votes and get elected.
Mrs. Clinton’s slogan was “Stronger Together” while Mr. Trump’s was “Make America Great Again.” Throughout his campaign, Mr. Trump’s strategy was to create doubts in the minds of Americans about the globalized U. S. economy.
Thus, Mr. Trump argued relentlessly that the U. S. economy was in terrible shape because the outside world was taking advantage of America. People believed him, especially “the forgotten Americans,” to use his words. For instance, according to Gallup, only 16 percent of Republicans said the economy was getting better before the Election.
Things on the ground, however, were quite different. The American economy has recovered quickly since the 2008 financial crisis. Millions of jobs have been created by businesses under the current Administration. The unemployment rate has been declining; and now it stands at 4.6%, which is considered full employment by the Government’s own standard.
Prices of Dow Jones Industrial Average have increased significantly, making Americans feel wealthier again. American households are seeing their incomes and home values rise. Consumer debt has been declining. Gas prices are the lowest they have ever been.
There is no evidence to suggest that America is being taken advantage of by other countries. There have been outsourcing of jobs in manufacturing, but overall American consumers are reaping the benefit of inexpensive imports. America’s multinationals, including Trump Organization, are investing all over the world, thereby making handsome profits.
The American economy has been performing relatively well. Mr. Trump has known that fact all along. Yet, he painted a bleak picture of the economy as a strategy to garner votes and win the Presidency. It worked.
It is unlikely that Mr. Trump will introduce anything new as long as the economy continues its recovery. Instead, he will simply ride the wave once he becomes the U. S. President.
*Emeritus Professor of Economics at Ferris State University.